The Ben Trovato Files

Who among us doesn’t remember satirist Ben Trovato’s outrageously subversive trilogy of letters to and replies from the rich, famous and downright dangerous? Well, the madness continues as the letters are reincarnated for the first time on video.

Featuring scenes of the writer himself, the letters come to life in a creative mélange of stop-motion animation, live action and a liberal dose of artistic craziness.

The episodes will be short and punchy, each featuring a letter and its reply, with durations ranging from ninety seconds to three minutes. The team has produced a pilot episode titled ‘The Two Oceans Aquarium’ from a letter Trovato wrote to the big house of fish. He got a reply without even having to bribe them.

Working on this project is a close-knit production team including cinematographer Dave Aenmey and animation artist Lindsay van Blerk. Dave has worked on many commercials, music videos, documentaries and feature films during his 30-year career.

Lindsay has directed and animated numerous award-winning films including The Velveteen Rabbit and The Chimes. He worked as storyboard supervisor and director of animation on the feature film Zambezia and has also directed and animated TV commercials and television series.

The material is drawn from the many letters and replies that appeared in The Ben Trovato Files, Will The Real Ben Trovato Please Stand Up and Stirred Not Shaken.

Anyone interested in helping to finance the series in return for a production credit is invited to contact Ben at or leave a message right here on his site. Enquiries from producers and production houses are also welcome.

The pilot episode can be viewed here:

The Agony and the Methylenedioxymethamphetamine

Men in white coats tell us that hangovers are caused by the excessive intake of alcohol. Funny, then, how it was men in white coats saying, “Can I bring you another?” that caused all the trouble in the first place.
They would have us believe that the first step towards avoiding a hangover lies in limiting the amount you drink. This is meaningless gibberish and does little to help the person battling to survive a hangover registering 17 on the open-ended Retchter Scale.
Your size, weight, metabolism and body chemistry all play a minor role in how much you can drink. The main factors that dictate consumption levels are financial and emotional. If you are happy and in a good mood, you may find nine beers, three tequila shooters and a double Irish coffee to be an elegant sufficiency. However, if you are feeling downhearted you could easily put away 15 beers, 10 shots, five double vodkas and fuck the Irish.
Some doctors try to tell you that hangovers are caused by dehydration. This is like saying drought is caused by rain and I, for one, will sign any petition that calls for these charlatans to be struck from the medical roll.
Dehydration is caused when the bartender ignores you because he is too busy catching bottles behind his back and flirting with all the pretty young things.
In rare cases dehydration is also caused when a girly little hormone, that is meant to tell the body to conserve water, can’t hold its liquor and passes out on the job. This results in you having to wee every few minutes. With the floodgates open, the body starts borrowing water from less important organs – like the brain. This causes the grey stuff to shrink, which goes a long way towards explaining why stupid people with small brains suffer worse hangovers than smart people with big brains.
All alcohol contains methanol. I would have thought this is a good thing since it is also the fuel used in motocross bikes, and those babies can go! The problem seems to be linked to yet another design flaw in the human body. Instead of using the methanol to accelerate the mind, the body inexplicably breaks it down into formaldehyde and formic acid. Deformed foetuses and pygmy brains are preserved in formaldehyde. Ants and bees secrete formic acid when they attack. What the hell are our bodies thinking?
Some hangover symptoms are in part due to magnesium depletion. As we all know, magnesium constitutes 2% of the Earth’s crust. So before you go drinking, take the time to step out into the garden and grab a handful of that damn fine crust. You will be glad you did. Just remember to wash your face before you walk into the bar. Not many drinkers can handle the sight of a grown man with a soil-encrusted mouth spraying bits of grass and earthworms as he shouts for another round.
A Japanese study showed that taking five grams of chlorella before drinking can prevent hangovers 96% of the time. From what I can make out, chlorella seems to be some sort of algae capable of multiplying faster than that Russian maths freak who turned down a medal and a million dollar prize after proving the Poincare conjecture which states that in three dimensions you cannot transform a doughnut shape into a sphere without ripping it, although any shape without a hole can be stretched or shrunk into a sphere. How would you like to go up in front of a crowd and explain your thinking on that one? No wonder he still lives with his mother.
If the chlorella does nothing for you, try an antioxidant called dimethylaminoethanol. If that doesn’t work, whip up a Bloody Mary and wash down a handful of methylenedioxymethamphetamine. That should cheer you up in no time at all.

Leave your carbon footprint on Eskom's dumb ass

Operating under cover of darkness, thanks to those godless incompetents at Eskom, I knocked over the Weber after staging a one-man protest braai. The bad yellow-eyed woman woke me up several hours later. She was shouting at me about the carpet. I thought I was back in Angola and brought her down with a textbook scissor kick. Okay, that part isn’t exactly true. I pulled the duvet over my head and lay there whimpering.
She reached in and took me by the ears, dragging my head within striking distance. She pointed my face at the carpet. I thought she was going to rub my nose in it, like you do with a naughty puppy.
“What the hell is that?” she barked.
“I can’t see anything,” I said. Being half-blind with alcohol poisoning I could barely see the floor, let alone what was on it. That was when she rubbed my nose in it. It came up black.
“Do the rest of me,” I said. “I’ll qualify for a government tender in no time at all.”
She demanded to know why I had tracked soot across the carpet. “It wasn’t me,” I said. She got me into a half nelson and gave me a misguided tour of the house. The tracks led from my side of the bed to the fridge and then to the overturned braai. The tracks between the fridge and the braai looked like the aftermath of the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti.
Later that evening a friend came around and made unhelpful jokes about my carbon footprint. Once everyone except the bad yellow-eyed woman and I had stopped laughing, he put on his serious face and started talking about climate change. It’s this kind of conversation that turns normal people into narcoleptics and I tried to change the subject but he was having none of it.
“Did you know,” he said, causing me to yawn so violently that I almost dislocated my jaw, “that Gisele Bundchen is the UN’s advocate for environmental awareness?” That stopped me in my tracks. The same Gisele who had scorching monkey sex with Leonardo DiCaprio for three steamy years? This Brazilian babe is way hotter than global warming could ever be. She would have exploded by now if she didn’t have some German in her.
He said we were making a terrible mistake by relying so heavily on coal for our energy. I couldn’t have agreed more. My carbon footprints wouldn’t have been all over the house if someone had bothered to invent a Weber that could cook two chops and a bunch of boerewors using a picture of the sun and two wind chimes instead of 10kg of Glomor Anthracite Large Nuts that don’t even burn properly anyway.
I felt a build-up of greenhouse gases and went outside to deflate. The ozone layer looked just fine from where I stood. He followed me out and said we owed it to our children to stop burning fossil fuels. I laughed. The only things that stand a chance of surviving a planetary meltdown are Durban’s cockroaches and Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
Besides, the last fossil I burnt was the spine of a baby brontosaurus dug up by my dog dug outside Langebaan. I may as well have built the fire out of wet asbestos. I won’t braai with fossils again in a hurry, I can tell you that much.
I told the assembly of two that the government must have a plan to deal with climate change, even if it does involve Blade Nzimande condemning it as white patriarchal class-related conspiracy and Julius Malema demanding that the racist climate must adapt, not us.
The bad yellow-eyed woman laughed, but on closer inspection I saw she was choking on a piece of lemon. My so-called friend began giving her the Heimlich Manoeuvre and I had to step in and separate them after it went on for too long and started appearing inappropriate.
With another filthy cold front sweeping into the Cape, I fetched some of the woman’s aerosols and sprayed the atmosphere in the hope of raising the Earth’s temperature. I don’t care if the South Pole melts. I grew up in Durban and I need to be warm.
Tips on cutting emissions:

  • Walk, cycle or take public transport. Carry a 9mm pistol made from compressed cannabis (R99 from GanjaGuns R Us).
  • Install energy-saving light bulbs and buy reading glasses made from twigs and shards of discarded beer bottles.
  • Place a blanket around your geyser. At night, put it to sleep by stroking its thermostat and singing to it. Anything by Cat Stevens works a treat.
  • Hang your clothes outside instead of using the dryer. Buy an eco-friendly Rottweiler to watch the line.
  • Eat genetically modified foods. This may not work if you plan on starting a family as two-headed children are known to be voracious eaters.
  • Steal other people’s stuff.


Up In Smoke

For a little light relief, here is a column I wrote some time ago.
There was a sphincter-clenching advertisement in last week’s Sunday papers. It came with a WARNING and featured a giant photograph of a thug pointing a revolver directly at my head. I automatically ducked and spilled hot coffee on Brenda who shot of bed and stood on the cat who attacked the dog who jumped on the bed and bit me in the leg.
After the paramedics left, I went back for a second look at the advert that caused all the trouble. WARNING. Sounded serious. The gangster with the gun looked pretty damn serious, too. He had the face of a man who has just walked in from a hard night of smoking tik with the boys, to find me shtupping his mother.
I thought the advert was going to advise me on what to do this festive season should I be confronted by a street smart sociopath suffering from dangerously low self-esteem and a violent drug-induced psychosis. But, no. It was a warning not to buy illegal cigarettes. Excuse me? Was this desperado going to hunt me down and shoot me if I bought a box of black market fags?
In a print size slightly smaller than WARNING, I was told: “The money you spend on illegal cigarettes, he could use to buy guns.”
Being a Cell C subscriber, I should be accustomed to having trouble making connections, but this was something else. My mental clutch was slipping badly. Then I read the even smaller print. “Often the person smuggling cigarettes is involved in other criminal activity. If you buy a pack of 20 cigarettes for under R13.50 it may be illegal. Stop your money from helping to pull the trigger.”
Firstly, what kind of self-respecting hoodlum needs to stand on street corners selling packs of fake Marlboro to be able to afford a gun? Here in Cape Town, if you want a gun, you stab the person who has one and take it away from him.
Your neighbour was shot by someone who wanted his car? Do you smoke? Are your cigarettes the genuine article? If not, you’re just as culpable and should hand yourself over to the police at once. Please let me know when you do, because I want to be there when the constable takes down your statement.
“Yes, officer, that’s what I’m trying to tell you. My neighbour was killed by a hijacker and I blame myself because I bought a packet of dodgy smokes last week while waiting for the lights to change. I insist you arrest me.”
Half a page is apparently not enough to drive home this valuable public service announcement. A separate advert, also with a WARNING, says that if you tick the box to any one of five statements, you could be in possession of illegal cigarettes.
Here’s one of them: “There are the wrong health warnings on the pack.” Would something like: “Choking hazard – not for children under three” fall into this category? Bit of a grey area.
Another says: “The readings on the pack are higher than 12mg Tar and 1.2mg of Nicotine.”
So what they’re saying, in effect, is that nobody should buy cigarettes that are cheap, strong and devoid of annoying health warnings. If I smoked, those are precisely the kind of cigarettes I would look for. What am I talking about? I do smoke. But only after the second hit of the fourth beer. Which, in my book, doesn’t make me a smoker. If anything, it makes me a latent dipsomaniac with self-destructive tendencies. Which is so much healthier.
The advert ends: “If you are in possession of illegal cigarettes and you continue to buy them, you are funding other criminal activity.”
Hmm. Something doesn’t quite gel, here. Isn’t it enough to warn people that buying illegal cigarettes is, well, illegal, without making them feel that they are also responsible for every violent crime committed in the country?
The advert helpfully provided an 0800 number for me to call, but I was unable to find out much because the phone was answered by a recording of a woman who sounded like she had been punched in the head one too many times. Probably as a result of someone having bought an entire carton of illegal cigarettes.
“Welcome to the TISA hotline. If you suspect illicit trading in tobacco or tobacco products, please leave a message …”
TISA is the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa. They protect the interests of the tobacco industry. Their members include British American Tobacco (BAT), JT International and Phillip Morris.
At first I thought TISA was behind this unbranded campaign. Then I discovered it was actually BAT itself. The company already sells around 20 billion cigarettes annually in South Africa. But that’s not enough, is it? If people stop buying contraband, BAT stands to sell an extra six billion cigs a year. That should keep the petty cash topped up for a while.
If there were any honesty or ethics in this filthy business, the advertisement would have read: “WARNING. The money you spend on illegal cigarettes should be spent on our products.” But that will never happen. Why? Because cigarette advertising is illegal.
I am going to give up beer and by doing so, give up casual smoking. No, I’m not. I am going to save up the money I would have spent on cigarettes and buy a gun. Then I am going to randomly shoot a bunch of people and blame the tobacco industry.
This is getting too complicated. I might just go and lie down for a bit.
* The author has since kicked the habit and befriended the monkey on his back.

Prophet and Loss

I feel sick when I think of all the people selling their icons for a bag of cash and a pound of power. More than 150 million plastic crucified Jesuses are pumped out each year. Cuba sells Che Guevara lollipops. Even the ANC once got Nelson Mandela to publicly endorse Jacob Zuma, a man who, in the old days, would have been tracked down by bounty hunters and brought in dead or alive.
Now, the family of the late, great Bob Marley has launched what they describe as the world’s first global cannabis brand. It will be called Marley Natural and will come in a range of different strains, cannabis-infused lotions, creams and various accessories. The new brand is being developed with Privateer Holdings based in Washington State.
So the family has finally decided the prophet needs to turn even more of a profit. Here’s what I expect we can look forward to in the near future.
I Shot the Sheriff – an Xbox game in which a posse of downtrodden Rastas must move 500kg of weed from Montego Bay to Miami without getting caught by heavily armed cops on the take.
One Love – weed-flavoured condoms in a range of red, green and gold.
No Woman, No Cry – a range of environment-friendly inflatable dolls.
Lively Up Yourself – tetrahydrocannibanol-based anti-depressants.
Misty Morning – toilet sprays that smell like the inside of a bong.
Positive Vibrations – a range of sex toys designed to resemble the smokeable heads of a dope plant.
Rat Race – a board game in which players have to score from a natural mystic, ride a horse called Natty and avoid being converted by stiff-necked fools.
Stop That Train – a range of hemp T-shirts aimed at rail commuters who are always late.
Turn Your Lights Down Low – a marketing jingle for Eskom.
Small Axe – a pocket-sized skunk-scented deodorant that attracts women and repels police.
Soul Shakedown Party – a virtual reality computer game with Rasta avatars who buy and sell the corrupt souls of crazy baldheads in a natural mystic place called Rainbow Country.
Ambush in the Night – a range of bulletproof hemp jackets designed for South Africans who work later than 6pm.
Burnin’ and Lootin’ – a range of affordable weapons for the poor.
Mr Brown – a restaurant chain that doesn’t allow white people.

Doggy just went out of style

My attention was snared by a story that Malaysia’s predominantly Islamic population had been rocked by a shocking event held in a park on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. What depraved act had been committed in public now? Reluctantly, I read on.
The event was called, “I Want to Touch a Dog.” That’s wrong on so many levels. Who wants to be out shopping with the family and come across a bunch of degenerate savages down on their hands and knees doing unspeakable things to dogs? Not me, that’s for sure. And certainly not Nurul Islam Mohamed Yusof, a leader in the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party’s youth wing.
In a statement, he said: “Previously there was the organisation of ‘Topless Friday’, followed by ‘Oktoberfest’, then ‘I Want to Touch a Dog.’ We worry that there will next be a ‘Sex & Condom’ campaign with the rationale of ‘safe sex’ to ostensibly prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.”
But I was wrong. This wasn’t an invitation for bestialists to inappropriately touch our furry friends. Far from it. Instead, it was an invitation ­– mainly for children – to familiarise themselves with dogs in a fear-free environment.
Dogs, apparently, are haram (forbidden) in Islam as they are thought to be dirty. Their mouths and noses are considered particularly impure and there is a special cleansing ritual one can follow should one inadvertently touch these appalling appendages. Sometimes, when my dogs are in the back of my car, I’ll turn around while reversing and the yellow one will lick me in my mouth. She doesn’t go unpunished, of course. Later, while she is asleep, I sneak up and sneeze in her face. She thinks it’s a game, but it isn’t. It’s my cleansing ritual and I take it very seriously.
Commenting on the dog-touching event, an official from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia referred to a fatwa which was issued after an incident where a Muslim had posted a video of the family bathing their dogs.
Bathing! Off with their heads!
Syed Azmi Alhabshi, the man who organised “I Want to Touch a Dog”, went into hiding after a tsunami of death threats. I have received the odd death threat over the years, but I haven’t taken them as seriously as I might have done had I lived in, say, a country where you can have your legs chopped off if you accidentally trip and your willy falls into another man’s bottom.
In this case, the anti-doggists want him stoned. It seems a bit severe for encouraging people to pat their dogs.
Over a thousand people went to the event, which shows that quite a lot of Muslims are interested in getting to know dogs a little better. And why not? I mean, it’s not as if dogs are banned in Malaysia. Sure, most people own them for hunting or security purposes. But would it kill them to show their dogs a little physical affection? Apparently it might.
Siti Sakinah, an NGO worker, attended the event with her children so they could “overcome their fear and learn that dogs are also creatures created by Allah that need love and care”. Jesus, lady. Why not just go to Mecca and sell ham sandwiches?
Seven-year-old Nur Aliyah Mohammed Nasir said she was very happy. “I touched many dogs and carried some of them.” The Huskies were her favourite. They’re also a big favourite in Vietnam and Korea, mainly as carpaccio.
Some critics accused the organiser of being part of a Zionist plot.
The red dog just wandered into my study. I looked him sternly in the eye. “You’re haram,” I said. He wagged his tail and licked my leg. I bent down and gave him a hug. At this rate, Palestine will be overrun in no time at all.

A letter to the horn-happy hunters

Dear Dawie Groenewald and your gay brother, Janneman. Sorry, Janneman. Maybe you aren’t gay. But what the hell kind of name is Janneman? It’s fucked up, that’s what it is. You got the good name, Dawie, no doubt about it. A real South African name. The kind of name you want to have if you’re going to grow up and rip people off and kill rhinos and cause all sorts of shit. Janneman probably mixes the martinis while you’re out there hacking the horns off. I hope you don’t split the money. Although I must say it’s a helluva lot harder to mix the perfect martini than it is to shoot a drugged rhino from nine metres. So you hunt in Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and right here in South Africa. Your farm, Prachtig, is 60kms south of Musina in Limpopo Province. I’m just pointing this out for the benefit of hunters and not so that normal people can find out where you live and burn your house down. The US government has charged your ass with conspiracy to sell illegal rhino hunts to American hunters, money laundering and secretly trafficking in rhino horns. That’s some pretty badass shit, my bru. An 18-count indictment. Sounds heavy. Of course, that means shit out here. Get the right lawyer and the right judge and you’re home in time for sundowners. In America, I reckon it might mean something else. Americans aren’t big on mercy. They want to nail your ass. And if they can’t, they will grab someone else’s ass and find a way to call it yours. That’s where you went wrong. You were so focused on rhino horns that you forgot to lay a false trail for the Feds. It happens to the best of us. The only reason I heard about you was because I bought a local paper that had used an AFP story out of Washington and noticed the headline, “US charges SA duo over illegal rhino hunts.” It was a small piece buried on page seven, which means that, at most, nine people know about what you and your brother have been up to. You’re safe. Fourteen million people know what Jacob Zuma and his handlangers are up to, and we don’t really give a damn. I’m going to be frank, bru. You blew it. But you blew it right from the start. If you’re going to be helping Americans kill rhinos with the express intention of fucking them over (the Americans – the rhinos are already fucked), then you shouldn’t have called yourself Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris. It’s a ridiculous name. You obviously saw the movie with Robert Redford and Meryl whatshername. But if you’d read the book, which you wouldn’t have done because I would willingly have my left leg chopped off if it could be shown that you and Janneman had read anything more complicated than the K53 driver’s license manual … where was I? Anyway. I checked out your website. It’s like a wet dream for people like Oscar Pistorius, although not really because wildebeest will hardly ever break into your toilet. “Bring a bolt action or a double rifle (muzzleloaders are welcome). For Buffalo, Rhino and Elephant, a minimum calibre of 375 is required. All calibres bigger than this are welcome. For Lions, Leopard, Antelopes and other medium game a calibre of 300 or 30-06 will be sufficient. For dangerous game, 40 full metal-jacket cartridges as well as 40 soft-point cartridges are required. For medium game you will need at least 80 soft-point cartridges. Fit your rifle with a good quality scope with variable power; 1.5-6 x 42, 2.2-9 x 42 or the like. For transportation of your rifle between hunting areas, a soft case per gun is required.” You don’t regard lions and leopards as dangerous game? I suppose if they’re on anti-depressants, I guess they ain’t that dangerous. You’re asking $25 500 for a ten-day buffalo and sable hunt? That’s insane. I can go to a game auction and pay less for a buffalo and a flock of sable and put them in the back of my car. Take them home and scatter them about my yard. Your price for a three-day “rhino darting safari” starts at $10 000 per hunter. That’s, like, R100 000. It seems a bit fucking steep to play darts with a rhino. Still and all. You’re a high stakes, classy outfit, even offering “green” hunts that involve the more sensitive hunter firing a tranquiliser into the rhino and then letting him pose with the sedated animal for a tastefully lit photograph. After which you send him to the bar for a gin and tonic while a sweaty brute hacks the horn off and you ship it to Hanoi a day or two later. But to get back to your price list. To gun down a lechwe in Mpumalanga costs a mere $3 950. Lechwe, and I mean no disrespect to lechwe, are lazy. If there were traffic lights in the bush, lechwe would be the first to hang around waiting for a handout. Shooting them is probably doing them a favour. I only hope their families get some of the money. What else do you have on your menu? A baboon in Limpopo goes for $200. Really? I know baboons who will sell their young for a quarter of the price. And a bushpig for $600 is just silly. You can sit in your car with a beer between your legs and a carrot in your hand and a bushpig will walk right up to you. If he could talk, he would say, “Six hundred dollars? You’ve been had. I’m a pig who lives in the bush. I wouldn’t pay twenty dollars for me. Anyway. At least let me eat the carrot. Then you can blow my brains out.” I don’t know, Dawie, but $3 800 for a giraffe seems unreasonable. It sticks its head into your rondavel looking for an apple and you put your 9mm against its temple and pull the trigger. You don’t even have to get out of bed. I’m not saying it’s unsporting, but in terms of effort versus expenditure, there’s a bit of a gap. Your price of $350 for a porcupine strikes me as fair. These little fuckers walk about as if they own the place, but the moment you pick him up to put him on the barbecue he shoots a million quills into your face. Fuck him. Zebra seems a tad overpriced at $1800. They’re just gay horses, really. And they know it, too. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell them that stripes went out in the 80s, they just love to be stroked and admired. And when it comes time to kill them, they prefer it to be done at sunset with a crossbow. While Frank Sinatra plays in the background. You might have to explain to your zebra that the real Frank Sinatra wasn’t available. Don’t tell him that Frank is dead because he will probably kill himself, which will deprive everyone of an income. I was intrigued by your list of supplies that you recommend clients bring with them. Two pairs of hunting trousers? What the hell are hunting trousers? Two pairs I can understand, because one might soil the first pair should an impala spring unannounced from the bush. A pair of gloves I can understand. You are, after all, running a criminal enterprise and the last thing you want is the FBI lifting a clean set of prints off a warthog gunned down under suspicious circumstances. I am, I must say, mystified by your requirement of “1 razor with blades or batteries”. Is this to shave a dead animal? Kudu can be hairy, yes, but why would that offend you? And if not for the animals, do you prefer your hunters to be clean-shaven? Perhaps Janneman insists upon it. I know a lot of men who have had bad experiences with scratchy beards. Actually, that’s not true. I just don’t want Janneman to feel like he’s some sort of freak. The last thing we want is Janneman building a nuclear weapon, right, Dawie? LOL. So you pulled the wool over the South African police’s eyes for all these years. I expect it wasn’t that difficult. But now you’ve discovered that the US Fish and Wildlife Service are/is bit brighter than our boys and girls. America wants to extradite you. Nou is julle in die kak. Although not necessarily. It depends on who you know in the government. Do you know people in the government? Of course you do. You wouldn’t have got yourselves this deep in the shit if you didn’t. Can they get you out? Maybe. Your biggest mistake was ripping off the Yanks. They don’t care if other nationalities get fucked over, but don’t mess with a US citizen, even if he is a brain-damaged intra-bred redneck from, well, he could be from anywhere. “Good shot, Tex!” “So ya’ll gonna wrap up my horn or what?” “No can do, Tex. You aren’t allowed to take rhino horn out of the country. But you can take a picture of it!” Tex goes home and the horn goes to Vietnam. Everyone’s happy. Except the rhino. You found a loophole there, Dawie. But you forgot one thing. Never bullshit an American who carries a gun. He’s either gonna kill you, fuck you or take you to court. You fucked with the wrong people, Dawie. You can’t charge for the hunt and then sell the horns on the sly. If there’s one thing Americans hate, it’s double dipping. Alabama’s US Attorney, George Beck, said: “Not only did they break South African laws, but they laundered their ill-gotten gains through our banks here in Alabama. Jesus, bro. You could’ve gotten away with poaching rhino and ripping off Americans. You could’ve got away with almost anything. But did nobody ever tell you not to fuck with the banks of Alabama? Did you think you’d be alright because you’re white? Those days are over, my friend. Say howzit to Oscar.

Big or small – we kill ’em all

Hunters like Melissa Bachman and Kendall Jones are way braver than I am.

For a start, I wouldn’t dare go on a canned lion hunt because those lions are drugged and you don’t know what a lion on drugs is capable of doing. It might launch itself from a tree, thinking it can fly, and land on your head before you have time to pull the trigger. What if it’s on methylenedioxymethamphetamine and tries to give you a hug? Or lick you to death? Ecstasy has that effect on people, so why not lions?

I’m not interested in hunting anything that can hurt me. Right away that rules out the Big Five. When it comes to the infliction of grievous bodily harm, I shall do the inflicting, thank you very much.

So you can imagine my unbridled joy when I came across John X Safaris in the Eastern Cape and discovered that they cater for gutless wimps like me.

My eye was caught by this line on their blog: “In a world where everything is changing and high standards become the norm, so does the urge of our hunters.” I didn’t understand it, but it sounded deep and esoteric.

It went on. “Hunters from around the world are looking for new opportunities to test their skill and wit against the often forgotten small species of Africa.” Having run out of people to test my wit against, I am delighted to find that small animals are up for the challenge.

The Eastern Cape, according to John X Safaris, gives one the chance to hunt seven of the Tiny Ten. The other three have presumably moved to the Western Cape in the hope of finding a better quality of life.

I could bag myself an Oribi, though I am advised to use “solids” to minimise damage to these “fragile trophies”. Does this mean I have to capture one and feed it solids until it quietly expires from over-eating? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Besides, I am told that Oribi “succumb to predators very easily”. I don’t want to stalk an Oribi for days on end only to find the tawdry slut down on its knees in front of a leopard, one hoof to its forehead, whispering breathlessly, “Take me if you must, you predator, you! Take me now!”

I couldn’t tell from the picture how big an Oribi is because it was lying down. The man who killed it was lying behind it. They seemed to be spooning, which I found romantic. Its long horns threatened an unwanted vasectomy so I looked for something on the Tiny Ten that wasn’t quite so fierce.


The Grey Duiker is apparently “an opportunistic species”. The Julius Malema of the antelope world is usually hunted in the early morning, late afternoon or at night. That’s no good for me. There is a brief window period around midday when I am fully alert, otherwise I am asleep or drunk.

grey duiker

The Cape Grysbuck is a “personal favourite” of whoever runs John X Safaris. And I can see why. It’s small enough to fit on the braai. They are also very shy animals. I guess when Charles Darwin said the meek shall inherit the earth, he wasn’t talking about the Cape Grysbuck. Apparently it will require “many nights of hard hunting”. I have tried that, mainly with women in bars, and there is a serious imbalance between effort and outcome.


The Blue Duiker is preyed on by caracal and eagles in the coastal forests. Now we’re talking. Any buck that can be carried off by a bird is the kind of buck I want to hunt. Hang on. John X Safaris suggests moving the animals around with Jack Russell terriers. Now I must get a pack of dogs? Jack Russells are roughly the same size as the Blue Duiker. The carnage would be unimaginable and I’d have the SPCA on my case in no time at all. There’s also this: “A 12-gauge shotgun is best suited for these fleet-footed masters of the forest.” Masters of the forest, eh? We’ll see about that. BLAM! BLAM! Blue Duiker, red mist. We are also told it’s known as Puti in Xhosa. I wouldn’t feel comfortable shooting something that can speak Xhosa. Well, apart from the motherfucker who burgled my house last month.

blu duiker

On to the Klipspringer, which means heading into the mountains. This displeases me. I am afraid of heights and clean mountain air makes my head spin. Besides, they are easily spooked. With my stalking skills, Klipspringer in Zambia would hear me coming.


Vaal Rhebuck are out of the question because they live half way to the moon and unless I can shoot one from a helicopter, I’m not interested.


“The Steenbuck is one of the most beautiful of the ten.” Hmm. I like it already. And the hunter in the photo holding up its dead head looks about nine years old. If he can do it, so can I.


So that’s the Eastern Cape’s seven. For the remaining three in the Tiny Ten, we must visit neighbouring countries. First, to Namibia, to hunt for the dangerous Damara Dik Dik. Well, dangerous in the sense that you could trip over him and do yourself a mischief. Standing 30cm high and weighing in at three kilograms, he is the “ballerina of the bush”. Any animal that thinks it can get on my good side by performing pirouettes and the pas de chat deserves to die. On the other hand, two mouthfuls and he’s gone. If I’m going to have a braai, I can’t expect everyone to bring their own dik dik. Besides, theirs horns are so small that, once his head was on my wall, my jacket would keep slipping off.

Damara dik dik

So it’s off to Mozambique for a clear shot at the Red Duiker. “Often spotted as a glowing ember in the forest” – or more likely as a red-hot rifle barrel of a Renamo bandit – we are told to “look for an oversized scrotum hanging between the back legs”. Where? On the buck or on one of the men in the hunting party? It’s not made clear.

red duiker

Last on the Tiny Ten list is something called Livingstone’s Suni. The one in the photo looks as if it weighs little more than a hamburger. Suni make weak barking and whistling sounds. “I’m over here,” they seem to be saying. Idiots.

Livingstone suni

The blog ends with a heartwarming story of Spanish clients, Jose Recio and his sultry wife Filo, who came to the Eastern Cape. Their mission? To hunt fifteen species and kill two of each. Like a homicidal version of Noah.


They shot 28 animals in eight days. Jose got not one, but two Vaal Rhebuck. “Two great Vaalies in a morning!” If only.

The final photo of the great white hunters from Spain was of Filo posing with three dead dassies. That’s one brave senorita. A snaggle-toothed dassie will tear your throat out if you don’t give it a ham sandwich. That’s when I got the idea.


I want to hunt the Tiniest Ten. Here’s my hit list. Chihuahua. Hamster. Gecko. Tortoise. Etruscan shrew. Pygmy possum. Jerboa. Tree frog. Mole. Mouse.